United States District Court, D. Oregon
RICHARD F. McGINTY, McGinty & Belcher, PC, Salem, OR, Attorney for Plaintiff.
S. AMANDA MARSHALL, United States Attorney District of Oregon, RONALD K. SILVER, Assistant United States Attorney, Portland, OR, HEATHER L. GRIFFITH, Social Security Administration Office of the General Counsel, Seattle, WA, Attorneys for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
MALCOLM F. MARSH, District Judge.
Plaintiff Bobbiejo Dinesen seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381-1383f. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405 (g) and 1383 (c) (3). For the reasons that follow, I affirm the final decision of the Commissioner.
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff protectively filed an application for SSI on December 16, 2009, alleging disability beginning March 8, 2009, due to hepatitis C, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit disorder.
Plaintiff's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. Plaintiff filed a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). An ALJ held a hearing on March 14, 2012, at which plaintiff appeared with her attorney and testified. A vocational expert, Patricia B. Ayerza also appeared at the March 14, 2012 hearing and testified. On June 28, 2012, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review, and therefore, the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner for purposes of review.
Born in 1979, plaintiff was 32 years Dld on the date of the ALJ's adverse decision. Plaintiff completed school through the eighth grade but was in special education classes and has past relevant work as a gas station attendant, certified nursing assistant, and inserter.
THE ALJ'S DISABILITY ANALYSIS
The Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R. § 416.920. Each step is potentially dispositive. The claimant bears the burden of proof at steps one through four. Valentine v. Commissioner Soc. Sec. Admin., 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir. 2009); Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999). At step five, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that the claimant can do other work which exists in the national economy. Hill v. Astrue, 698 F.3d 1153, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012).
At step one, the ALJ found that plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset of disability. At step two, the ALJ found that plaintiff had the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder and substance abuse. At step three, the ALJ found that plaintiff's impairments, or combination of impairments, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment.
The ALJ assessed plaintiff with a residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform all exertional levels of work with the exception of a limitation to simple routine work not requiring complex written communications, no interaction with the general public, occasional interaction with coworkers, and no tandem task work.
At step four, the ALJ found plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work. At step five, the ALJ concluded that considering plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff can perform, such as line packaging worker and garment sorter. Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff has not been under a disability under the Social Security Act from December 16, 2009, through the date of the decision.
ISSUES ON REVIEW
On appeal to this court, plaintiff contends the following errors were committed: (1) the ALJ failed to properly evaluate medical evidence and opinion of examining physician David N. Sweet Ph.D.; (2) the ALJ failed to properly consider medical evidence and opinion of treating physician Joel Suckow, M.D.; (3) the ALJ failed to consider treatment notes from Riley Crowder, a Qualified Mental Health Practitioner ...